By Orenge Wycliff
The people from the communities that are known to be practicing the Female Genital Mutilation Practices have been urged to stop and allow the girl child to grow without having her body parts cut whatsoever. Over the recent years, various campaigns tabled by the governments and Non Governmental organizations towards Zero tolerance to FGM have seen the rates drop with a considerable margin.
Varius People pose for a photo after attending a training towards creating awareness to ending FGM organized by Esnahs Nyaramba in Kisii. Photo | Orenge Wycliff
Where is FGM Practiced in the World?
Although this practice is highly done in 30 African countries and the Middle East, female genital Mutilation is considered to be a universal problem and is also carried out in some countries in Asia and the Latin America. The practice also continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Where is FGM practiced in Kenya?
- In Kenya, 4 million girls and women have undergone FGM
- Overall, 21 per cent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years have been subjected to the practice
- Nearly all people in Kenya think FGM should stop, though opposition is most common among ethnic groups that do not practice FGM
- The risk of FGM depends on certain background characteristics. Girls and women from rural areas, living in poor households, with less education or who identify as Muslim are at greater risk. The practice is highly concentrated in the North Eastern region and in certain ethnic groups
- FGM is less common today than in previous generations. This progress has been achieved over the last three decades
- Most FGM is performed by traditional practitioners, except in the Kisii community, where health personnel are responsible for two in three instances of FGM. Removing flesh is the most common form of the practice in the country
- Kenya’s progress towards abandoning FGM is strong compared to other countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. Nonetheless, eliminating FGM by 2030 across the country requires additional effort
- The Kisii, Kuria and the Maasai communities are the relative examples of the communities in Kenya who practice FGM.
While FGM is popular in these regions of Kenya, Various efforts have been made to ensure that this rate comes down to a manageable size by the year 2030.
Consequently, various factions of the government have come out to champion for the end to FGM in Kenya. The police are also working so hard to ensure that the perpetrators who are identified to be aiding or engaging in FGM are brought to book and face the full force of the law.
Also various NGOs and CBOs have come in strongly to condemn this retrogressive practice even as they continue to tighten the belt in ending it.
In Kisii, there are various CBOs that have come out in good time to fight for the right of a girlchild and Ending FGM. The notable examples are;
- The Young Women Democrats
- Onsembe CBO
- The Threshold of Hope Africa
The findings from the research conducted across the region reveal that it is almost becoming difficult to track and identify those who practice FGM because it has been medicalized by private health facilities and clinics. Speaking while addressing the Media in Kisii, Mrs. Esnahs Nyaramba said that those that will be found guilty of taking the girlchild through FGM will face the wrath of the law.
“It is becoming difficult to track the FGM in Kisii because it has been Medicalized and hence becoming difficult to end it.”
“I want to sound a warning to private hospitals and clinics. Those people who Circumcise girls in the night and mornings or aiding abortion, that when you shall be found, you will face the full wrath of the law.”
A section of Attendees of the anti FGM training in Kisii Photo| Obwoge Jnr
The first Day Training welcomed various stakeholders from the administrations and security departments from Kisii county and it is scheduled to take 3 days where other Key stakeholders will be enjoined as the fight continues.
As it stands, FGM within the region stands at 84% down from 86%. An acute drop of 2% may be small but significant and the target by the 2030 is to bring the rate of FGM in Kenya down to 0%. Thanks to the government’s effort to bring this retrogressive practice to a end and the fight continues.
Therefore even as the fight continues, everyone is asked to be vigilant and be ready to give out information about any instances of FGM across the country to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book to face the full force of the law.
“The Constitution and the Children Act both outlaw torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. Chapter V, section 74 (1) of the Kenya Constitution
protects every person from torture and inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.
The Children Act (section 18 (1)) provides protection for children from different forms of
violence and particularly torture and other cruel treatment or punishment.”
FGM has got no positive significance to a girlchild but rather poses damage and can lead to various problems to the girlchild even in their later stages of development.
What are the consequences of female genital mutilation?
Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn and maternal deaths.
The lasting psychological effects on victims can be traumatic, often leading to long-term mental health issues and sexual dysfunction.
A section of Leaders from KEWOPA earlier during an empowerment programme at Riokindo Girls organized by the Kisii County MP Hon Dorice Donya Aburi. Photo | Orenge Wycliff